As summer ends and the days grow shorter there are fewer daylight hours to ride my Onewheel after a long day at work. Evening and night riding can be just as fun as riding in the day. In this article I will teach you how to be a Onewheel David Hasselhoff, aka a Nightrider.
Riding after hours and in the dark is a whole new experience. The roads, bike paths and parks tend to be less busy and while you may be cruising the same streets, the scenery is completely different from daytime riding.
In addition to new scenery, I find myself meeting new people even though I’m taking the same old routes. Depending on where you live you may see more wildlife as well because certain critters wait till the cover of dark before emerging. Riding in the dark can be very exhilarating, just make sure to ride safely!
One of the most important aspects of safely riding in dark conditions is to make sure you can be seen! A huge reason why accidents happen at night is because visibility is low. So make sure to turn on those Onewheel lights! While the built in lights are great, there are a few other easy things you can do to significantly reduce the chance of injury.
Here is my list of 10 things you can do to keep yourself safe while riding at night:
#1. Turn on your lights:
This seems like a no brainer but on more than one occasion I have found myself going for a ride in the evening as the sun is setting and the next thing I know it is completely dark outside and I am riding with my lights off. The lights that are built in to the Onewheel are great so use them!
#2. Wear the right clothing:
In addition to safety gear, make sure to wear reflective clothing so you can be seen by motorists. There are a lot of products to choose from and I have tried reflective straps, jackets, and vests. I even have reflective tape on one of my boards. After researching and trying various clothing options, I found that the 247 Viz Blaze – Reflective Vest 360 to be the best option for my night riding.
The product I like the best is the 247 Viz Blaze Reflective Vest because during the day it is an unpretentious and unassuming grey color that goes well with whatever I’m wearing. I can put it on over a T-shirt or over my hoodie or a light jacket and it looks great, is lightweight, and comfortable.
At night is where the 247 Viz Blaze – Reflective Vest 360 really shines (pun intended). The reflective properties are comparable to the best on the market. This thing shines so bright that motorists will be giving you extra room on the road for fear that you may be radioactive! It is that bright!
#3. Ride on well lit paths:
Depending on where you live, there may be walking and biking paths that are well lit and designed to be used during the day and night. Find out what hours the lights turn off and take advantage of the taxpayer dollars that are being used to pay those electric bills.
#4. Use an extra flashlight:
One of the beauties of the Onewheel is how you can magically change speed and navigate sharp turns completely hands free. There are no handlebars or controller to hold on to so you are free to hold on to and sip from a drink while your other hand is holding a small flashlight. I like using a flashlight because I can direct the light to exactly where I want to see.
Because the Onewheel lights are low to the ground, the reach of the lights is limited. By using a flashlight, I can see ahead much further and prepare myself for upcoming bumps or obstacles in my way.
I can also use a flashlight to signal motorists and on more than one occasion I’ve used it to get a better look at a sound I’ve heard in the bushes only to be surprised by the glowing eyes of a cat or raccoon.
#5. Don’t outrun your lights:
The built in Onewheel lights only illuminate several feet in front of your board and that distance is significantly reduced when going uphill. You can only prepare for obstacles that you can see so if you are cruising at 10 mph, that calculates to a traveling speed of about 15 feet per second. Yet with the stock Onewheel lights you can only see about 5 feet ahead of you.
Do yourself a favor and get a flashlight so you can increase the distance you can see ahead of your board. Also, if you are unfamiliar with the terrain, GO SLOW!
#6. Always let someone know where you will be going:
This is good advice just in case you do get injured or stranded somewhere at least someone will have an idea of where you have gone and when you should be back.
#7. Wear safety glasses:
This one is dependent on the time of year, where you live and where you night ride. I like to cruise along a path next to a creek. In the evening the bugs come out in full force. While I am moving at a pace faster than the mosquitoes, I do find myself with a face full of gnats. I wear glasses so I never get them in my eyes, but I have gotten some in my mouth.
Wear safety glasses to keep the bugs out of your eyes. Keep your mouth closed to keep the bugs out of your mouth.
#8. Take your cell phone with you:
Having the app is important to make sure you complete your ride before running out of battery. It is also important so you can turn on your lights when it gets dark and for the GPS should you get lost. Finally, you can use your cell phone light at night if you don’t have a flashlight with you and you can use the phone to make calls in case of an emergency or stranding.
#9. Be constantly aware of your surroundings:
I tell my kids that when they ride, especially at night, that they should always assume that motorists do not see them. Always be aware of traffic and when crossing a busy street, make sure to make eye contact with motorists before cruising out in front of them. Don’t take unnecessary risks.
The Onewheel is unique to most and it is not cheap. Don’t go into unsafe neighborhoods where you run the risk of getting mugged or on remote trails at night where animals can be an issue. The board is not fast enough that you will be able to outrun a motivated thief or an angry bear.
Be aware of your surroundings.
#10. Go with a friend:
The magical wonder and enjoyment of the Onewheel is compounded when you are able to go with a friend. Because of the high cost of these devices, it is not practical for every family to get more than one, but if you know how to look for a used Onewheel, you may be able to score a deal (read more about buying a used Onewheel).
You can also look into local group rides in your area. Check Facebook for local Onewheel groups. Many big cities have them and some groups will go for night rides. Right now, my youngest and I like cruising around right before her bed time!